This seems like a good opportunity to put together a few thoughts about my project. One of the great things about a residency is that as one part of the thinking process ends, another begins in earnest. Also, once you’re there (and especially if it’s somewhere a bit isolated like Bogong) the amount of equipment at your disposal is finite, but the question as to what you might now do with it starts to open out. So below is the product of some thinking over the first week:
One of the overarching interests in my practice is the relationships between people, their technologies and physical environments (natural or otherwise), which I explore through the themes of sound and energy. In putting together a plan for Bogong my thinking started to coalesce around a bunch of experimental ideas that relate to exploring physical and technological systems interdependently.
Diary entry #3
Water is an ever-present feature of the Upper Kiewa Valley – physically, materially, experientially, culturally and functionally – and it’s the medium through which the ruggedness of the land formations relates to the infrastructure of the hydroelectric scheme. That infrastructure permeates the valley, be that underground, on the ground, or through the air. Side roads and fire trails leading off from the Alpine Way invariably take you to nearby power pylons, or further afield to remote dams, pipelines or power stations, and all of that is here to convert the energy of moving water into electricity.
Yesterday walking around the Junction Dam I struck up a conversation with Brett, an AGL engineer, who was out performing regular checks on the wall. We chatted about water management in valley, and the idiosyncrasies of the installation at Bogong, one of which being that the entire power station is concealed under an artificial hill. This means that the transformers (one of the more temperamental parts of a power station) are underground – an unusual situation resulting in some unique technical problems. He also answered my question as to where the electricity from Bogong feeds into the system, as there’s no obvious chain of poles and wires leaving the station. As it turns out the cable travels discretely under the river, then up the hill to a pylon located at the turn off from the 4-wheel drive track to the Black Possum Spur. I’d noticed a small installation of equipment next to that pylon, but hadn’t realised its significance. It was one more piece in the puzzle of how the disparate components of this place go together.